Reflections on Today’s World, and Becoming a Grandparent

Well, I just celebrated my 49th birthday on 11/25.  Two of my sons, Kevin and Brian went with me to the club and it was great!  We had a party and such.  Now for the wilder part of the day. I opened a present the my son and his girlfriend gave to me.  I thought it was a gag because it was a pregnancy test!  Kevin said, “Mom…Just read it man!”  I looked at it and it said “positive”.   I looked at him and his girlfriend and they told me that I am going to be a grandmother.

I think it’s not really overwhelming me yet, but it is overwhelming my son, Kevin.  He’s still taking in the “I’m going to be a dad.” bit. I admit this inspires me to work on clearly defining, organizing my goals and moving forward with plans at a better pace than what I have been.

I do know this much, this woman will never be a “rocking chair grannie“. I’m too head strong for that. I know this much, I am the last person a school wants to encounter if I am the alternate person to pick up my grandchild from school, or the one who is on the list to help care for the child and I end up having to deal with some administrator who says that bullying is just something kids have to deal with and they should get used to it.

Schools are not prisons.  To me that is the same thing as when an officer in a prison tells an offender who has been assaulted, “Well, you shouldn’t have come to prison.”  Well excuse me but public schools are the only institutions that are MANDATORY for anyone who has never broken a law–e.g:  OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN,  so that is the LAST comment any teacher or administrator had better make in my presence.

If the system wants to treat these children like little offenders (which is what this amounts to) then they should be held accountable for deliberate indifference when a child gets assaulted and/or killed on school property if it can be shown that there was an ongoing problem and it was NOT addressed effectively.  IF the legal departments are the ones creating the problem by tying the administrators hands and threatening to not represent them if THEY don’t agree with discipline methods–then the district should be able to fire them and hire independent attorneys.

The same holds true if the bullied child commits suicide and the school KNEW there was a problem and failed to act.  If they are held liable for not reporting child abuse/neglect, then they should be held to the same standard when they allow children to be terrorized on their own territory.   They may be part of the government machine–but they should not be above the law by any standard.

See what is happening here? My grandson or granddaughter is not even on the planet yet and I am already concerned for the future of that child. At least I’ll get some days where I can color and teach him/her how to do a dream board.   I know that when I’m around, I’ll shelter that child from as much as I can and so will Kevin and his beautiful girlfriend, Daphne…She is one tough mama and she will not fail to protect her young!

Now I think it is time that she and my son get pics of themselves together with her other 3 kids…For one, they call me grandma anyway and for two, they are part of this family.   THAT’S what they should do–GET FAMILY PICTURES!

I am also starting to do some more soul-searching again…It’s almost like the same thing I did when I was having Eric (my oldest son) who was born on my 20th birthday…I guess this means I need to take a considerably less “charged” tone with my blogs too.  However, it will be very, very difficult when talking about bullying because I am so vehemently passionate about it.

However, pursuing one’s dreams is very important also. I want to impart to this grandchild that only he or she can choose the greatest path for himself/herself in life but it is important to make decisions one can live with and sleep with at night because nobody will walk in those shoes but him or her.

If there is one lesson I have learned in my life, it is that it is one thing to put your dreams on hold–but another to let them die.  Nobody should ever to the latter because that is when that word called “regret” haunts one until the end of their days because they always wonder what might have been.  I really believe now that I can have my dream.  I won’t share what that dream is here, but I know it will one day come true.

I will also be giving that book “The Alchemist” to Daphne’s oldest son, “Jabez” when he gets older.  I think that will open that boy’s eyes to a lot of things.  The Universe has really blessed me, but I’ve got $10 in my pocket that says I am one of the few that has learned to be content with what I now have for the simple fact that I definitely know that a good change is coming.  I can feel it and it will be good for me when it comes.  I also think that this is true for some friends of mine and I am usually not wrong when I feel it this strongly.  2012 is going to be a great year for a few of my friends! I feel it!

Take care and have a great week! This was one Thanksgiving Holiday for which I am expressing a lot more gratitude to the Universe!

Gratitude for All Things Remembered this Thanksgiving…

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Keep on dancing while you're at it!

With this Thanksgiving Holiday rapidly approaching I have had to sit down and reflect on all the things which I have been thankful for.  I go up to my mountain when I can to express this to God (and you can call that force what you like–that is what I know it to be because it’s easier for everyone to comprehend) and take in whatever lessons that entity decides to impart to me at that time.  I have been truly blessed with mild weather this week and will go up  there again in a few hours.

The Universe is so infinite, yet people constantly try to say that one day all of that will end as will all life forms on this planet. I do not believe that for a minute.  I believe life will continue in cycles.  I believe it will be shaken, altered, stirred, beaten down, pressed into a new shape, or simply allowed to continue to slowly evolve into something none of us could have ever imagined in over 500-1000 years time.  Whether we witness it or not is anyone’s guess.

Sometimes during this time of year, I truly miss my father, my Grannie Ainsworth and other relatives who have passed.  I am grateful for them having been in my path because I know that somewhere in the back of my brain lies that wisdom and with that they all imparted to me.  It is this time of year I also remember some things that made me chuckle a time or two as a child.

Today I want to talk about my Grandpa, Elton J. O’Neill.  He passed away in 1987 while I was living in King  City, CA.  I will never forget how mad someone got when they found out that he showed me how to play 5 card stud and I was beating most at it.  I haven’t played in years, so I’ve forgotten much of what he taught me, but this is a man who had an  interesting  history of his own.

At one time he was a caddy for some of the best golfers and ran pool halls and domino halls, which were big business in those days.  He enjoyed playing dominoes and such until he could no longer do so.

There were times during the Great Depression that he and my grandmother (Mary) would pick potatoes (or cotton) and such to get by.  Grandpa told me more than once that he stole chickens to feed the family once in a while and would take a little money to buy vanilla extract.  Why?  IF there wasn’t a still around, that is how many people would get drunk in those days.

I also remember a story my father told me about how when he was 9 years old he got caught smoking in the boys bathroom and got his fanny worn out by the principal.

I have one interesting memory of my own.  Please bear in mind that my Grandpa O’Neill could not see very well.  It was around 1976 or 77 and one day, my father decided to go to Abilene to see if he could find some yard sales to find stuff in.  We all loaded up in Dad‘s new “Minnie Winnie”–which was a small Winnebago and headed out.  To this day, I also remember Uncle Jackie (my dad’s older brother) being there also.  I believe it was either right before or right after Thanksgiving–not sure of the exact date.

We had just passed Cisco, TX and there was a hill up to the right which had a nativity scene on it.  It looked real–especially at a distance and with snow on the ground (as there was on this day).  My grandpa took a look out the window and squinted at it very hard.  Suddenly he said rather loudly, “Look at those hippies up there! Those fools are gonna freeze to death!”  We got a kick out of it.

Then of course I miss my Grannie Ainsworth who sometimes danced a jig and played harmonica.  I remember eating in “shifts” as what I call “the herd” came over! There were often 30+ people over there during the holidays and when we got finished eating at one grandparent’s house, we’d let it settle and then go to the other ones!  I truly miss the porcupine meatballs and the chocolate pies as my sister reminded me of one day. Disclaimer:  For those who never heard of those meatballs, they are made from beef–not porcupine meat!  I got a laugh out of being asked about that once!

I also have fond memories of Young School.  Despite being bullied there are two things that I do not think any former student will disagree with me about and that is the fact that they had the best home-made rolls and fresh vegetables and fruit there was!   And we always bought extra chocolate milk (well most of us did anyway).  I also remember that there were bats, but I loved going into the auditorium.  To this day I remember the swamp coolers, the wood flooring, and the smell of the rolls as they were cooking every morning.

For having all the wonderful people in my life I did have I was truly blessed, and even those who cause adversity in my life blessed me in the end.  Without their existence I would not be who I am or where I am today.  For those in my life now, I am also truly thankful!  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with  your families, and may you all have more wonderful experiences to come your way in the years ahead!

Just adding this because it is beautiful...

Holiday Depression Issues…

I am deeply disturbed at the lack of coverage on this issue.  It seems that at this time of year, especially when people are experiencing difficulty, friends and family seem to not realize that what is going on when people get snappy or unhappy it is due to Holiday Depression.  There is pressure to get and make that perfect dinner–get gifts for Christmas, make the shopping on Nov 25th of this year, etc…Imagine what it could for me having wrecked my car recently, going into debt with 3 birthdays coming up during this time–Eric’s (my oldest is also on Nov 25th (my birthday also), Brian’s is Dec 17th and Kevin’s is Nov 29th…

The running joke is that I am freaking broke from Oct.-Jan!

I am not depressed, though. Far from it. I am grateful that I have a family who is always there for me and for an employer that totally rocks! Yes, I took a pay cut when I quit the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice in 2010, and have no regrets.  The pay cut was well worth it. I am concerned for someone I know who seems to be sad this time of year and going through so much.  I am also concerned for a family that lost two loved ones in a fire last night.

Look, I’m not here to preach, but if you are worried about finances, the first thing you should do is simply NOT spend money on items for others that you can barely afford, if at all. This marketing ploy drives me nuts every year.  You will find that many relatives and friends love home-made candy and gifts as opposed to the cheap crap that we get into our stores now.  My sister makes us fudge and other candies and we LOVE IT! Nothing can beat that!

Although I don’t have as much since I took that pay cut, I have more than most.  I have my family, my dog, a blog I read faithfully that always inspires me to keep my head out of my backside and keep remembering that doors always open where others close.    Sometimes we end up in a place where we are not happy at the moment, but we have to be there for a reason.  We have to follow our intuition and simply go to where we may fear to tread from time to time.  When we reach that destination we so felt a strong need to go to, sometimes things do not go as planned.  We don’t get that job or the place we want right away–but we must learn to be still and silent.  We must wait.

The latter part of that is the hardest part of all.  It is especially hard when in that stillness we hear the echoes of loved ones telling us things that were so important to them, but seem lost in the time since their passing.  We try to apply this to ourselves, but it is not something that can be forced as much as it can be allowed to enter us and embrace us. I can remember the last conversation I had with my father and grandfather one day before their passing.  Each call ended with “I love you.”  This means so much more to me than people know.  Even today I can hear them say those words to me when I am feeling like a broken china doll, and it calms my spirit.

I remember going to the ocean in Monterrey, California after my grandfather died.  I felt a release and a comfort there as I said my good-bye to him while allowing the waters of the Pacific Ocean to lap over my feet and feeling the breeze blow through my hair.  It was then I felt that “embrace” (as I call it) and knew that this was meant to be and that he was no longer suffering.  There is a song Carly Simon wrote and sang after losing her mother that seems to sum up a lot of what I feel right now, and I think it will help those who have lost someone close to them also.  It is called “Like a River”…Watch the video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leQhz8oIYRQ&ob=av2e

I was raised as a Baptist. I don’t go to church, but I do know it says in the bible that when we die, we become as angels.  If that is so, then that explains this…Maybe our loved ones never truly leave us.  Whether we call this simply “the Universe”, “God“, “Ronald McDonald” or whatever, something seems to be embracing us and trying to gently tell us that all will be alright–if we be still, listen and wait–and then trust that this entity will take care of us if we simply trust in it just enough to know that it is not out there to hurt us or make bad things happen–but to help us endure the stuff that comes at us from all directions and drives us mad from time to time.

Sometimes those angels sent to help us are not in our memories and such, but in those around us that we would least  likely expect. Sometimes it helps me just to get out and visit new places and meet new people that I interview.  At other times, like when the sun comes up, I will be on my mountain, allowing whatever meets me there to embrace me and calm my spirit to get through the day once again.  However, lately my angels have come in the form of those whose blogs I read that remind me that life is not something to be taken for granted.

I have also learned to embrace the child I once was, let her go and forgive those who hurt me.  Those who know me know what I am referring to, and it was a long, hard process–and to those who saw it and felt helpless, don’t worry.  I am fine.  I am a new person and once I was able to throw off the baggage, I was fine. I would not trade one second of my life for anyone else’s because I have learned to embrace things as they are and be happy.  As I said, I have much to be thankful for, and will continue to keep those who are feeling so down in my thoughts because I KNOW without a doubt things will turn around for them.

This Holiday Season, no matter what is going around us, even if all we have is a fried chicken from Wal~Mart, instant potatoes, canned green beans and some type of sweet to eat–we should be thankful that we are there together to enjoy each other for another day–another moment.  Sometimes all people have to give one another is the loving hug each morning and those 3 words called “I love you”–but to receive these one more time is greater than any gift in the universe if you stop and think about it.

Money buys turkey, presents, and a lot of other stuff–but it never guarantees love and happiness.  Perhaps that is what confuses me so.  I never really could understand how people can allow themselves to fall into the trap of defining themselves by what they have instead of their inner gifts that the universe gave them–the ability to make someone laugh even if they are having a rough day, a sense of humor to carry them through the rough times (like we have had in Texas with these wildfires all damned year!),   It is funny that those who have the least are the ones who are always ready to give the most, too.

Now go give someone a hug and tell them you love them–even if it’s your dog or cat!  Then dry your eyes and look around you.  It is never as bad as you think it is.  Tomorrow is always a new day and it will get better…Take care and have a great week!  😉